The Congress on Tuesday accused the Bharatiya Janata Party of carrying out “one of the most heinous” instances of horse-trading in the country after the coalition government in Karnataka failed to prove its majority in the House.

Former Congress President Rahul Gandhi said his party’s alliance with the Janata Dal (Secular) had been a target from the beginning. “From its first day, the Congress-JD(S) alliance in Karnataka was a target for vested interests, both within [and] outside, who saw the alliance as a threat [and] an obstacle in their path to power,” Gandhi tweeted afte the coalition government lost the trust vote. “Their greed won today. Democracy, honesty [and] the people of Karnataka lost.”

The Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular) received 99 votes while the BJP secured 105 votes in the floor test. Janata Dal (Secular) leader HD Kumaraswamy resigned as chief minister following the trust vote.

Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said the BJP would one day discoer that “everything cannot be bought, everyone cannot be bullied and every lie is eventually exposed”. “Until then I suppose, the citizens of our country will have to endure their unbridled corruption, the systematic dismantling of institutions that protect the people’s interests and the weakening of a democracy that took decades of toil and sacrifice to build,” she tweeted.

Congress General Secretary KC Venugopal, who is in charge of the party’s affairs in Karnataka, said political morality and democratic values were defeated by “unscrupulous horse trading”. “The subversion of the coalition government carried out by the BJP is one of the most heinous political horse tradings the country has ever witnessed,” he said. “It was done by the nefarious joint efforts of the central government, governor, state government of Maharashtra [and] BJP leadership.”

Venugopal accused the saffron party of facilitating the political drama by offering black money and ministerial berths to the coalition’s MLAs who had resigned. “Along with this, the BJP also misused central agencies like enforcement and Income Tax for blackmailing and horse-trading,” he added in a series of tweets.

Venugopal said the Congress would hold nationwide protests against the “immoral political destabilisation” carried out by the BJP.

Sixteen MLAs – 13 from the Congress and three from the Janata Dal (Secular) – resigned at the start of the month. Independent MLA H Nagesh and Karnataka Pragnyavantha Janatha Party legislator R Shankar stepped down from the Cabinet and also withdrew their support to the government. Congress MLA Ramalinga Reddy, however, retracted his decision to resign and backed the government in the trust vote.

Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, meanwhile, praised party colleague DK Shivakumar’s courage and principle. “So the party that banned cattle auctions has successfully conducted one in Karnataka!” he said on Twitter. “My admiration for the courage & principle shown by DK Shivakumar and those Congress MLAs who were neither cajoled nor cudgelled into changing their allegiance. We shall overcome one day.”

BS Yeddyurappa thanks Amit Shah for support

Karnataka BJP President BS Yeddyurappa wrote to Home Minister Amit Shah, thanking him for his support to the state unit. “I extend my heartfelt congratulations and best wishes for support extended by your good self, other leaders of the party and party in general,” ANI quoted him as saying.

BJP National General Secretary P Muralidhar Rao indicated that the party would stake claim to power in the Karnataka, reported The Hindu. “We will not shirk the responsibility that the trust vote has thrust upon us,” he said. “As per the directions of the parliamentary board, decisions will be taken.